Unique After School Activities you Must Try for Your Child

As the school academic year comes close to end, many parents are thinking not only about the new classes and syllabus, but also what their kids will do after school. And why not? Keeping your child occupied in the time between school and bedtime is one of the biggest challenges facing a parent today. And undoubtedly, the time children spend after school deeply influences their development.

After-school activities offer opportunities for kids to learn new skills, explore different areas of talent, deepen existing expertise, get support for areas they aren’t as strong in, make friends, and form relationships with supportive adults.

From Public Speaking to art & crafts- there’s an after school activity out there for every child. And the best thing about them is they’re brilliant for all sorts of reasons- not just learning a new skill. So if you want to let your child’s creative instincts fly, improve their social spirit or get them active in fitness, check out these unique after school activities that you must try for your child.

 

Unique after school activities you must try for your child

 

1. Meditation

Kids Meditation

Think about it. How many times you say it to yourself that it’s hard to be Parents in today’s times? Probably several times, right? But is it okay to ignore the fact that it’s equally difficult being a kid today! Children deal with so many distractions, temptations and overstimulation. So why not give them the best gift of their life- something which they will cherish lifelong and be grateful, for it will change their life for the better. A simple yet very effective technique called Meditation – one of the most valuable skills we can teach our children.

Regular practice of meditation has several beneficial effects on our children’s emotional, mental and intellectual development.

Designated ‘Downtime’ lets the child focus and enhance attention span by not doing anything! By just sitting around & listening to music or staring at the ceiling looking at beautiful mandalas, it’s a wonderful way to manage stress and work on emotional wellness. This is a superb way to let the children tune into themselves, reflect own thoughts, reset their minds and bodies.

Studies have also found that meditation is a wonderful medium to improve behavior, focus and reduce impulsiveness.

2. Story Telling

Story Telling

We all love stories! There’s a magic weaved around a good story.

It improves the listening, speaking and overall language skills of a child and encourages creativity.

Also, Storytelling is a unique way of teaching them about life, values, develop an understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands, races and religions.

Actually I would say of all the benefits of storytelling- of connecting children with far-flung places, extraordinary people and eye-opening situations- I think the most wonderful fact is that it connects children with their creativity. In a way Storytelling is an important piece of the literacy puzzle. No wonder from babyhood to the early teens, children have an innate love of stories and thus sparing some after-school time in a story telling workshop is totally worth the effort and time!

3. Outdoor Activities/ Sports

Outdoor Activities/ Sports

Teamwork, trust, fitness, confidence, strength- these are just a few of the traits that children can learn with Sports & Outdoor activities.

Exposing your child to various activities like rock climbing, hurdle jump, tug-of-war etc boost a child’s social, emotional and intellectual quotient.

Physical activity helps reduce stress and anxiety.

While playing in the green outdoors, children observe nature first hand. They look at things beyond the screens.

From- learning to take turns on the slide to making decisions while making teams to dodging the hurdles in a race- kids benefit from every aspect of outdoor play.

Competitive sports are also great for learning difficult life lessons like being a gracious winner – and loser.

4. Listening to TED Talks!

Listening to TED Talks!

Well, who says extra curricular activities need to be only about “doing” or “creating” something? At times children need plain inspiration too and trust me, in today’s times there is nothing easier and better than exposing kids to TED Talks.

It works as an excellent medium for children to better grasp topics they might not fully understand at first glance.

The topics and discussions help the child think critically about how they think about the world, and discuss other big ideas alongside their own academics. In a way TED Talks make us pause and listen to the percolation of ideas- art, engineering, technology, the humanities, spoken word and more.

With the wide area of topics covered, they can create the spark necessary to stay creative lifelong for a child. What better than inspiring kids with the story of people who achieved fascinating projects, often guided by passion!

The idea of an after-school activity is not just to keep restless kids busy or entertained. They offer great developmental benefits that will help them academically and socially. Also, for working parents, after-school activities are often more than a luxury with an assurance of safe, supervised structured place where kids can spend time some time doing their most important job of all: being a kid!

But in the midst of all this if you ever felt that you’ve somehow become your kid’s personal chauffeur, constantly ferrying them to numerous after-school activities, you’re not alone. And you’re totally forgiven for wondering whether all those activities are more hassle than they’re worth.

How about having a one-stop-solution to this? A place that offers variety of age-relevant activities that aim at making children smarter, healthier, happier and better equipped to operate in the constantly evolving ambitious and cohesive society.

At Dolphin POD, we believe that after school activities that are carefully designed to enable all round development of children help teach the key 21st Century skills of Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and Contribution which in turn are the building blocks for a happy, successful and meaningful life.

And somewhere if you see, as parents, that’s all we desire- we want our kids to stay positive and active after school and at the same time have peace of mind that they’re in a safe environment.

Dolphin POD is a world class-achievement centre that provides a fun, interactive and inspiring education unlike anything children receive anywhere else.

To know more about Dolphin POD and their philosophy, click here.

Source: Go Mommy!

How to Help Your Child Deal with Shyness

Shyness is completely normal in children and most of the times nothing at all to worry about. In fact, a new study conducted by the University of Colorado and the University of Connecticut examined shyness. They found that shy children know the answer to questions just as often as outgoing kids, but they are just not as eager to state the answer out loud. However, if shyness interferes with what a child wants to do — like play a game, or interferes with what the child needs to do — such as give a presentation at school, parents can help kids overcome it.

Start with displaying some empathy for your child — which means putting yourself in your kid’s shoes. Let them know you understand how they feel and you are not mad or disappointed in them for being shy. Perhaps state something like, “When I was a kid, I was shy too. I remember sometimes it was no fun and got in the way of things I wanted to do. Sometimes I even get shy now.”

Then ask if they would like your help in dealing with it. This will lead the child to feel in control and take ownership of their problem rather than becoming accustomed to you swooping in and solving problems for them.

Simply ask them, “Do you want me to help you deal with this problem?”

Your child will likely say yes, so the best way to make your child learn something fast is to have fun with it — try coming up with ideas together or a role play! Encourage your child to think of ways they might handle a situation that makes her nervous: “If you feel nervous at school, what could you do to make yourself less nervous? Could you hang out with one of the kids you feel most comfortable with? Could you offer to help the teacher? What do you think you might talk about if your teacher asks you a question?

A role-play is like acting and it helps your child practice situations where they may feel shy before they happen.

Brainstorm different scenarios where your child may feel shy — for example they become shy when saying “thank you” to the host after the last birthday party they attended. First, ask your child to show you how they would say thank you next time, then praise them for what they did right and offer to correct them where they need some help. Teach them social skills like how to look somebody in the eye, project their voice, and say thank you with confidence. Have your child practice this and you can pretend you are different parents who react in different ways to your child’s thank you.

Do this type of role-play in other areas where your child may be most shy. When you notice that they are being shy in real life, encourage them to act exactly how they practiced. If they could use more practice, then just try it again.

If your child is shy about making friends, try to provide daily opportunities for interacting with others. For example, your child doesn’t have to be interesting to others, just interested in others. Teach him or her to ask other kids questions about their lives and listen to their answers.

Of course, try your best to always model confident behaviour with other people. If you are ever shy yourself, point this out to your child and tell them what strategies you are using to overcome your own shyness. Kids learn the most from watching their parent’s behaviours!

Displaying empathy, role playing and probing the kids are essential ways that prove helpful in bringing out their personality and shaping it in a positive manner.

Dolphin POD program is tailored in a way that it brings out the best in children via its unique curriculum and educationist who help kids understand the importance of saying out their mind loud. Along with this, trained psychologist provide parents with ways to deal with kid’s behavior and instilling the qualities that are important for a healthy and successful living.

Eight Ways to Make Public Speaking Easier for Your Child

Butterflies in stomach, sweaty palms, shivers down the spine- well, you would certainly know by now what I am talking about! If you are wondering why your otherwise confident, outgoing child goes in a freeze-mode when all eyes are on her, read further to know ways to make public speaking easier for your child.

Compelling, confident public speaking is a crucial skill that is often overlooked and under-developed in a child’s formative years, yet it can strongly impact how your child views themselves and how they develop and succeed. A self-assured child who can effectively address their classmates or an audience is likely to be seen in a more positive light by their peers and develop a stronger sense of self. Being able to speak confidently in front of a group of people is a valuable skill.

Frankly, aren’t we wired to be impressed by those who can express themselves better? Those children who can’t express themselves effectively are unfortunately left behind.

But as a parent, you can play an active role in assisting your child to survive and even thrive in these pressure-packed situations.

Here are 8 ways to make public speaking easier for your child:-

1. Give Wait Time

Most of the time we don’t give enough time to the child to respond and jibe in to finish what we intend to say. Now this works as a double sided sword. It not only breaks the flow of thoughts of the child in framing a sentence/response but also breaks the child’s confidence.

A great rule of thumb is to pause for at least 5-10 seconds for your child to answer. It gives your child time to process what they want to say.

Give Wait Time
Don’t Over Correct your Child

2. Don’t Over Correct your Child

Over correcting is the exact opposite way of how to improve communication skills. The more you demand they say something right, the worse it may likely get.

3.Treat Your Child as a Full Communication Partner

Sounds tricky, right? That’s where you need to strike a balance. You need to talk to them as if they are adults but still remember they are children. ‘Talking with them like an adult’ doesn’t mean use adult vocabulary or information they won’t understand. It means take turns, use eye contact, and value what they say.

Don’t talk to them in baby talk all the time. It’s O.K. every now and again, but after they are about 10 months old, try to limit how much you do it.

It’s common among younger children to talk gibberish, which you don’t understand, but again, take your turn, make the best guess about what they are trying to convey and respond accordingly….even if you’re not sure what they’re talking about.

Treat Your Child as a Full Communication Partner
Practice Emotions

4. Practice Emotions

An important component of effective communication is the tone. Show your child that the same set of words can carry different meanings depending on her inflection and presentation. Pick up a phrase like – ” stop, don’t move ahead”. Now have your child say this phrase using different emotions -excitement, fear, shock, or anger, for example — and make up a scenario in which each expression of the phrase could be appropriately used.

5.Ask Open Ended Questions

Open ended questions are when the answer can be a variety of things and not answered by “yes” or “no”. These questions will teach your child how to think “hard” and reason for themselves.

Here are some examples of how to turn simple questions into open ended ones:

A. Question: Did you go to the store?

     Open Ended: Where did you go?

B. Question: Was that book good?

     Open Ended: What did you like about that book?

Ask Open Ended Questions
Play Fun Games

6. Play Fun Games

Remember the all-time favourite game of “antaakhshri”? While that was all about thinking of a song on-the-spot, incorporate games like extempore in your routine. Pick up a toy or object and let your child describe it in 1 minute (show & tell). On a road journey, ask your child to speak about a particular car that he spots or describe the weather outside. It’s all about gaining confidence of speaking on random topics.While watching television together, talk about minute things like body language, articulation, expressions etc.

7.Talk Talk Talk

Make the most of daily activities where your child can build his comfort level naturally. For example, the next time your family goes out to eat, encourage him to order his meal from the waiter himself using a loud voice and clear articulation.

Talk Talk Talk
Praise Your Child for Talking

8. Praise Your Child for Talking

This is another one that needs to be balanced. You don’t need to tell your child how great they are talking after everything they say. Space it out. Tell them at least a few times a day. More when they’re younger. When they call something by the right name, say “Nice talking” or “You’re right that is a…” or “You are such a good talker”. For older children, you might compliment them when they use a new vocabulary word. You might say, “Hey, look at you using such a big vocabulary.”

Now, if you ask me when’s the right time to assist your child’s communication skills, I would say the right time to learn any life-skill is N-O-W!

You see, the right time to learn swimming is before you fall in the deep sea. Public speaking is an essential life skill every child needs to learn. If you ever get the right opportunity to pick up this invaluable life-skill from the right person, just don’t wait for the right time! And that would be one of the best investments for your child’s future and he/she will be grateful for your timely guidance.

And one such place that inculcates public speaking in children in a fun and natural way is Dolphin POD. Their carefully curated content and methodology, based on neuro-scientific methods, is aimed at makingchildren smarter, healthier, happier and better equipped to operate in the constantly evolving, ambitious and cohesive society. The pedagogy they follow of Play, Communication and Downtime involve activities and classes that helpchildren develop as confident and smart public speakers.

To know more about Dolphin POD and their philosophy, click here.

Being comfortable talking to others- whether one-on-one or in front of a group- will allow kids to better convey information, appear more confident, and make stronger social connections. And this acquired poise and increased command of public speaking will not only help them in school, but also empower them in any situation they encounter in life.

Source: Go Mommy!